Fall approaches and temperatures are cooling, heralding the second main tornado season in North Texas. Local Profile spoke with Newsradio 1080 KRLD’s Chief Meteorologist Dan Brounoff about how to stay safe during tornadoes.
“Designate a proper safe space in your home to retreat to when tornadoes hit,” said Brounoff. “You want a space with as many walls between you and the exterior of your house, away from windows, and on the lowest level of your home; a closet can work.”
If you live on the second floor of an apartment and higher, the safe space should be as far as inside the structure as possible. Ask your apartment management if they have a designated shelter for severe weather. “If you’re friendly with a neighbor on a lower level and severe weather is forecast, ask them if they’ll be home and if you can potentially shelter with them.”
If you’re in a mobile home, have a safe space near you that is NOT your mobile home, like a nearby store.
For items to keep in a storm kit, keep bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, pillows, a battery-powered AM/FM or weather radio, and a cell phone. “Newsradio 1080 KRLD broadcasts on AM radio and on the Audacy app,” said Brounoff. “Along with the Audacy app, download a radar app onto your phone to help track the storm.”
Finally, be informed! Check the weather forecast when you wake up and before you go to bed. According to Brounoff, “Too often, people tell me they slept through bad weather without any idea it happened!"
When a Tornado Watch is Issued
A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado and usually last 5 to 6 hours. Move your storm kit into your safe space. Tune in to Newsradio 1080 KRLD on the radio or Audacy app and listen to Brounoff keep you updated on storm conditions.
“It’s very, very important to know your county area,” he said . “Know where you are in your county and in relation to other counties too. Print out a county map, highlight your county, keep it on the refrigerator, and memorize them. Knowing your location helps determine how much time you have to act.”
When a Tornado Warning is Issued
A warning means a tornado is currently active and last around 30-45 minutes as the tornado moves through counties. Retreat to your safe space immediately. If the warning has just been issued, you still have time to get to your safe space even if the space is outside your home. “On average, you have about 15-20 minutes because warnings are issued before a tornado touches the ground,” Brounoff said. “They’ll recognize the tornado’s rotation in the mid-levels of the atmosphere.”
If you’re away from home, don’t panic! You still have options. Find a gas station or a sturdy structure to take shelter in. If you’re in the middle of nowhere and see a tornado —a truly terrifying prospect — determine its direction. Use a tall tree or pole as a reference point and put the tornado in the center of that reference point. If the tornado is moving to the left or right in relation to the reference point then you aren’t in its path. If the tornado is NOT moving in relation to your reference point, it’s coming at you. Get out of its path by driving perpendicular to the tornado.
If you do not have time to get out of the tornado’s path, find the lowest point of land to lay face-down in, like a ditch. Flying debris is what kills most people in a tornado so the lower the better. Don’t take shelter in a highway overpass—stopping in the middle of the road near one blocks traffic and the narrow space acts like a wind tunnel, amplifying a tornado’s devastating winds.
There are many things you can do at every stage of tornado preparation to safeguard you and your family, and Brounoff will be on Newsradio 1080 KRLD to update you every step of the way. “I don’t miss severe weather events,” said Brounoff. “I know when they’re going to happen hours beforehand and you can count on us at KRLD to keep you safe!”
Dan Brounoff can be heard on your AM Radio or Audacy app at Newsradio 1080 KRLD.
In case you missed it, here's Local Profile's report on how DFW residents can apply for disaster loans